'Saints Row IV'
Sony PlayStation 3 (PC, Xbox 360)
ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 4.0 stars
Let's face it; the "Saints Row" series started improving the moment developers quit trying to compete with the "GTA" series. Eschewing realism was a great decision, especially since it leads to such wild and wacky game play! If you thought the prequel was surreal, wait until you play "Saints Row IV."
A lot has happened since the 3rd Street Saints retook Stillwater. Most importantly, their leader has become the president of the United States and placed his homies in the cabinet. When aliens invade Earth, the POTUS is forced to enter a Matrix-like pseudo-environment to eliminate the alien threat. Sound crazy? You bet it is!
Players begin their surrealistic adventure by creating their president in the most advanced character-builder I've ever seen. It has way more customization than is needed, but that's why it's possible to create just about anything you can imagine. Want to play as a purple-haired, overweight clown wearing a tutu or a Steampunk gentleman with a top hat? It's doable!
The virtual version of Stillwater is so large that it would feel overwhelming if not for the handy map and GPS features. I also appreciate how I can save stolen cars into my "memory" instead of driving them to my hideout. Now all it takes is the press of a button to make one magically appear.
Oddly enough, the addition of superpowers to the game almost negates the need for vehicles. Why drive around when you can fly through the air and run up the side of buildings? Of course, superpowers do make the game much more exciting, and nothing beats the feeling of speed-running into the thick of battle, sucking enemies into a black hole, and then casually strolling away.
Sporting deep customization and a huge variety of game play in a completely surrealistic scenario, "Saints Row IV" is a welcome respite from serious drama.'Space Hulk'